Microbial Poetry

My microbes bring all the poets to the yard

The scale of microbial diversity in our bodies is mind-boggling and their influence on our health is nothing short of awesome. So we can’t help feeling poetic when reflecting on the power of microbes. We were inspired by “A New Year Greeting” by W. H. Auden (1969), so got together with Dr Ursula Hurley (University of Salford) and Dr Sam Illingworth (Manchester Metropolitan University) to develop a microbial poetry platform.

Poetry workshop

In October 2018, we ran a poetry workshop at Manchester Science Festival because we wanted to capture some of our visitors’ thoughts about microorganisms in human health and disease. Ursula Hurley worked with visitors to create their own microbial poetry. Now we are inviting your submissions to our collection because we would like to publish a little black book of microbial poetry!

Pseudomonas aeruginosa:
The old folk said they didn’t know her, 
That wiley witch: aeruginosa
She swam, she swarmed, she twitched past their tongues, 
And then she dived down in their lungs, 
And nestled there, oozing sugar. 
No getting rid of this tough bugger! 

“This poem is about one of my research subjects: the opportunistic bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa that causes chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients”. Chloe James

Submit your Microbial Poem here

Photography – Nick Harrison